How can I get rid of the Red Lily Beetle?
Here are a few pointer to help you:
- Hand pick and destroy adults and larvae; easy to see when on the plants, but when disturbed, they fall onto their backs and become difficult to see–the underbellies are black.
- Inspect undersides of leaves for eggs and crush. [See Life Cycle below].
- Clear any debris from under the affected plants as the adults overwinter in the soil and debris. It may help to minimize the numbers of red lily beetles that will emerge the following spring.
- Studies are being done to introduce parasitic wasps to control red lily beetles biologically; in Europe, the beetles have natural predators (parasitoids) that keep them under control. Stay tuned.
The adult beetle overwinters in the soil or plant debris and emerges in early spring looking for food and a mate. After mating, the female lays eggs in lines on the underside of Lilium or Fritillaria leaves. Some damage is done by the adults at this time, but the major damage comes when the eggs hatch into larvae in 7-10 days. The larvae voraciously consume all leaves within reach and may then start on flower buds. This continues for 2 to 3 weeks, when the larvae then drop into the soil and begin to pupate. In another 2 to 3 weeks the adult beetles emerge to start eating again. This process occurs from early spring to mid-summer. Reportedly the beetles won’t mate and lay eggs until the next spring.